Hayfever vs the common cold: blow by blow
The symptoms of hayfever can sometimes be very similar to the common cold and the two are often confused.
Hayfever is characterised by a sudden onset of sneezing, a watery nasal discharge and itchy, watering eyes. Other symptoms can include headache, impaired smell and fatigue. The symptoms of the common cold vary depending on which infecting virus is responsible; however, a sore throat and a runny nose are the usual signs of a cold. Other symptoms can include headache, cough, muscular aches and a low-grade temperature.
Hayfever vs the common cold: does it really matter?
Yes it does! It is important to tell the difference between hayfever and the common cold because they are treated with quite different medications. A correct diagnosis will ensure you receive the best treatment available. Below is a checklist to help you differentiate the common cold from hayfever. If you have any doubt about your condition you should contact your pharmacist or doctor.
|Nasal Discharge||Usually clear, as long as the body remains free of infection||Cloudy initially clear, but can become thick and cloudy within days|
|Sneezing||Frequent attacks||Less frequent, convulsive attacks|
|Nasal Itching||Typical symptom||Not normally present|
eg itchy, sore or red eyes
|Usually present||Not normally present|
|Duration||Varies. Symptoms continue for as long as exposed to the allergen, if left untreated||Usually symptoms last for 4-7 days, depending on severity|
|Onset||Sudden onset upon exposure to the allergen||Usually a gradual onset of symptoms|
|Frequency||Frequency is dependent on exposure to the allergen. Could be seasonal or year round||Can occur year round, but usually more sign of common colds during the cooler months|
Reference: 1. Merck Manual Consumer Version (Accessed 6 march 2018)